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Posts tagged “Thinking

Doing What’s Important, Not What’s Measured

While at the gym this morning I started¬†observing,¬†unobtrusively, the macho men working out around me. This was the late morning crew so these are guys who, I presume, have the time to train regularly as opposed to 9-5-lifers who do their best to fit the gym around work and fail. One incontestable fact about the guys with me in the gym was their muscled torsos were in stark contrast to their reed legs. And when these he-men looked at themselves in the mirror (as we all do but never seeing what’s really there) their legs obviously didn’t exist.¬†That got me thinking about how what gets measured gets done. Or to put it backwards what gets done gets measured. Just what do you measure in the legs? But it’s easy to measure chest size and biceps bulge and how many packs are visible in the abdomen area.

We tend to measure, not what is important and needs to be done, but what is easily measured. A trifling example: many and possibly most societies rank more highly the money a person makes than the person making the money. We count how many cars or homes they have, how much gold they wear, the cost of sending their kids to “that school” etc. We look at all that and say “Wow!” Since we can’t measure a person’s dignity or integrity or goodness we don’t, and like the proverbial blue bolt out of nowhere, we express mock surprise at epic ethical failures in politics or business or amongst our friends. We see this a lot in the hip-hop world where rappers mouth of on how much money they have, how many millions they can print just by spouting ‘bitches’ and ‘hos’. These rag-tag boasters (Kanye, Jay-Z, Puffy-Piffy-whatever, 2Chainz, Rick “the slob” Ross et al) serve as prominent role models for black youth (at least in America). Epic fail. We must do better.

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(Un)Craven Attention

Bullies come with little brains. I think this as I observe a young family walk down the street. The little boy is a spark of sorts. It’s a wonder how this four-year old, or so he seems, skipping alongside his mum thinks he can catch the adroit pigeon scooping breadcrumbs from the ground or that he can recapture the balloon that slipped through his fingers. He watches, helplessly and with wonder, the yellow ball of air drift unquestionably sky-bound and the way the inflated rubber is bouncing in the wind looks suspiciously like a victory dance, a celebration of being free of the little rascal. As his mother pauses to look at a shop window bargain he makes a face at his older sister and from her reaction I am pretty sure this is a mask he has worn before to mother’s disapprobation.

One of my great regrets is being unable to remember not just what pretty thoughts I contemplated when I was still a child but how I actually thought – the process by which I laid down Napoleonic schemes to outfox my watchful father for my mother’s limited and, therefore, precious attention. Was I aware of cause and effect; pride and punishment; id and super-ego? And so when I see how that little boy pushes his sister so he can be the one next to mum I know that there is more than dutiful innocence in those puppy green eyes. No puppy he is; he is riotously naughty. He knows exactly what he wants and no sister, for love or punishment, will stand in his way. Perhaps he’ll turn out alright in the end. I did.